While the passage of the FY17 Federal Budget maintained funding for many programs and agencies that are critical to SWE’s mission, several key agencies and programs experienced either a decrease in funding or were not funded. The most recent budget that was passed will fund federal programming through September 30, 2017 (the conclusion of the federal FY17 fiscal year).
Federal Agencies, Programs, and Initiatives that are Critical to SWE’s Mission
In SWE’s original FY17 budget request, SWE recommended support for various FY17 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bills. Highlights of these recommendations are as follows:
- Support the proposal of $2.250 billion for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title II Supporting Effective Instruction State grants program at the Department of Education (ED).
- Support full funding of the ESSA Title IV Student Support and Academic Enhancement Grants at the authorized level of $1.65 billion.
- Support the proposal of $100 million for the new Computer Science for All Development Grants
- Support the proposal of $10 million for a STEM Master Teacher Corps, authorized through Section 2245 of ESSA.
- Support the proposal of $137.7 million for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
- Support the proposal of $2.912 billion for the Child Care Development and Block Grant program to improve the quality and safety of infant and toddler care and provide adequate assistance to working mothers and young families seeking to stay in STEM fields.
- Support the proposal of $952.86 million for the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate.
- SWE also supported the Senate Appropriations Committee’s commitment to adequate investment in basic and applied research across the federal research agencies.
Positive Highlights of the FY17 Federal Budget:
- Funding Increase: Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The Office for Civil Rights received $108.5 million in funding for FY17, which is an increase over the $107 million received in FY16.
- Efforts to restrict funding around enforcement of Title IX were not passed; however, SWE will continue to watch this area for potential changes.
- Funding for basic and applied research across many federal agencies was maintained. To that end, the National Science Foundation (NSF) received $7.5 billion in funding, which is a slight increase from the final FY16 figure of $7.463.
- The NSF Education and Human Resources (HER) Directorate was funded at $880 million, which was the same funding level received in FY16 but less than the requested amount of $952 million.
- Funding is maintained for the NASA Office of Education. This program provides critical funding for STEM educators and students across the country. While the funding for the program was not cut in FY17, a total cut of the program has been proposed for FY18. The potential elimination of this program, and other STEM education programs, is an area of concern for SWE.
Areas of Concern from the FY17 Federal Budget:
- Not Funded: Computer Science for All: There was no funding for the Computer Science for All Development Grants (a new program, which would cost $100 million). This is problematic because it is critical to advance computer science literacy to support the advancement of the United States as a competitive force in the global economy. A related program, Computer Science for All, was also not funded.
- Not Funded: STEM Master Teacher Corps: This program was designed to help cultivate teacher leaders in STEM subjects and promote the sharing of best practices across the teaching professions. The program was proposed and not funded in FY17.
- Funding Decrease: Education Department (ED): While the FY17 allocation is at $68.239 billion (which is an increase from the FY16 figure of $68.056 billion), if the reduction in Pell Grants is factored in, ED receives a decrease in funding to $66.9 billion.
- Funding decrease: Child Care Development and Block Grants: The FY16 budget for this program was $2.761 billion. While the final FY17 allocation amount was slightly increased (at $2.856 billion), it was less than the requested amount of $2.912 billion.
- Funding decrease: ESSA Title II Supporting Effective Instruction State grants program at the Department of Education (ED). The title II, part A Improving Teacher Quality State Grants were funded at $2.055 billion in FY 17, which is a cut from FY16 and slightly less than the request of $2.250 billion.
- ESSA Title IV Student Support and Academic Enhancement Grants was funded at $400 million, which is significantly lower than the requested $1.65 billion.
Looking forward to the FY18 Federal Budget:
While final funding for FY17 federal government was just passed, negotiations around the FY18 budget are already underway. It is expected that a more detailed proposal for the FY18 budget (10/1/2017 – 9/30/2018) will be announced in late May of this year. Since there were many serious cuts to areas critical to SWE’s core mission that were proposed in the initial budget request for FY18, SWE is carefully watching the funding levels for key agencies and programs for FY18 and will provide an update on that budget when it is available.
SWE has reviewed primary source material in composing this analysis. While lengthy, you can learn about the FY17 Federal Budget details via the following primary sources: